New York Town Makes English the Law

Jackson, New York and several other small upstate towns have entered the immigration wars by passing a law requiring all official town business to be conducted in English.
May 14, 2010, 8am PDT | Rebecca Sanborn Stone
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Jackson, New York may be thousands of miles away from the border - and the border wars in Arizona. It may have few Spanish-speaking residents and no history of printing documents in other languages. But none of that stopped the Town Council from recently passing a law requiring all official town business to be conducted in English.

"The law designates English as the town's official written and spoken language, 'to be used in all official meetings and business conducted by the elected officials and their appointees.' " And Jackson is not alone in passing such a resolution; the nearby town of Argyle approved a similar law and the town of Easton is considering one.

Many community members support the measure for a variety of reasons. "Roger Meyer, who proposed the law, feels he is making progress toward protecting the English language from threats near and far." But the New York Civil Liberties Union and many citizens are fuming over the recent decision, calling it prejudicial, unnecessary, and nearly impossible to enforce.

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Published on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 in New York Times
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